Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Jane’s Addiction, KOKO, 30th August 2011

What a gig! So pleased the Bossman let me know that they were playing.

I’ve always been aware of Jane’s Addiction, but like many bands they passed me by. Never too late to catch up! So glad we were there.

We got out pitch near the front, a band of youthful lads, and I mean they looked sixteen or so were the support. They were cool, they were appreciative of who was following them, people wanted to adopt them or put them on their keyrings, they went away and we waited for the main event.

They dropped a big curtain in front of the stage and for some reason played almost all of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon before the curtain raised and there was Perry and the boys.

He was dressed in the manner of a dandy Mississippi card shark, semi resident on the steam boat chugging up river. After he hustles you for your bucks, he’ll smoke a fashionably small cigar whilst checking his pocket watch and saying “yessiree, I’m gonna buy me some grits when I get off this old lady”.

Here’s his attire, a most presentable swamp gent (even though he’s from nowhere near that part of America)

As the gig progressed, he shed layers. Here he admires the lack of layers of his dancing troupe.

Shaking his maracas (the maracas are off screen here!)

Is he posing for me? I think he is.

A romance explosion near the end of this amazing gig.

Encore with wine and no top, the svelte bastard

Our feet at the end of the gig, it’s usually traditional we take a photo of ourselves at a gig. So we kept this tradition going.

Cheers Bossman! Haven’t enjoyed a gig so much in ages!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Mauritshuis, Den Haag (No 1 in a series)

This will be the first in a series of blogs specific to art, as I go to galleries, I will pick but one work from within it and write about it, it will be based on what interests me and I will explain why. I’m conscious this is all rather pretentious, so feel free to ignore :)

Part 1 : Mauritshuis, The Hague.

We visited some old friends in Holland last week, was lovely to see Chris, Charlina, their twins Nils and Sophia and their one year old Elano. On the Saturday we visited the Mauritshuis in the Hague, a compact little gallery full of Dutch/Flemish masters.

It is here the famous “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Vermeer is housed. It is a beautiful painting and it was hard to get a good look as people were congregated round it. But this is not the subject of my blog.

The work of art I’ve chosen is “Christ descending into limbo” by Jan Brueghel the Elder with Hans Rottenhammer (1597). It’s only a small piece of work but it contains a lot of power. Seeing as I seem to be be in morbid blog mode at the moment, this painting fascinates me.

In the bottom left of this painting a group of people are desperate to be saved by a seemingly untouchable radiant Jesus, all around him however is chaos, men and women tortured by various monstrous beasts, people fall from great heights, a little horned imp burns a brazier as leering creatures abduct and drag off screaming women, furnaces rage and buildings burn as tiny figures run into the water to drown, soldiers with stunted animal bodies in arms and armour terrorise the naked people, it’s hideous. Religious art, especially scenes of hell (or in this case limbo), even for one with a secular viewpoint is hard hitting. I always imagine how terrifying this would be for someone in the 16th century. Would it have made them turn their back against “sin”? Probably not, but it would have sure scared the crap out of them. I like to think that the artists had fun painting this, trying to make their beasts and monsters as scary as possible, testing it out on their students and friends for its shock value.

From personal experience, drawing beasts is fun, cathartic and mirth inducing. For example, here is my drawing of Booglog (I claim credit for many beasts, but not this one I’m afraid, Paul created this one). His catchphrase is “Throw them in Fire!” so he would have been perfectly placed in this painting. Utterly in keeping with the standard of art too.

Hmm… an idea, in the spirit of the Chapman Brothers (see this blog) I’ve added Booglog into the painting. I think it works.

Well, this blog started off vaguely serious, but it couldn’t last.

Anyway, I don’t know much about the artist (as usual) but a glance at available online resources shows the whole family (father and brother, children) were all accomplished artists. It seems this Brueghel wasn’t known for his hellish paintings but was more famous for flowers and more genteel religious scenes. His father and brother worked more in that space however.

On Rottenhammer (great name) I know even less (surprise!), other than when they worked together, he did the figures and Brueghel did the landscapes. Anyway, it’s an interesting collaboration. That’s it!

Arsenal’s Curse

I am concerned by the bad luck that has befallen Arsenal, since the Carling Cup Final, we’ve been in freefall, relegation form, as aptly shown here.

So today I will cast a spell to remove the bad luck. Is it conceivable that our players have brain freezes at such critical moments or are they possessed by some malevolent force? ;) Are officials influenced by a sinister power, suggesting they ignore offsides or blatant fouls? And look at Wenger, every week he seems to wither on the vine, like he is a puppet of some monstrous entity from another plane? He reminds me of King Theoden in Lord of the Rings, all covered in dust and talking bollocks.

Someone has hexed us. There is no doubt. I'm not sure what I will do as I am not an adept in sorcery, but I will invoke the spirit of Sir Henry Norris, possibly the most Machiavellian chairman we've ever had. He'll know what we should do.


Ok, I’ve had a vision and I was instructed to incant with my hands over the Autobiographies of Tony Adams, Bob Wilson, Liam Brady, Eddie Hapgood, Joe Mercer and Frank McLintock (I also have Perry Groves’ autobio, but wasn’t asked to touch his tome – sorry El Pel). I am also to burn my Carling Cup Final Ticket as this is when the curse brought new heights of pain upon us.  Here is the offending artefact, bringing plague upon our football house.

Here is the ticket, reduced to Ashes. Burn Burn Burn! The hex is reversed, pain in triplicate will be thrust upon the football teams of the invoker.

Chin up Gooners. We’re going to win a trophy this season. Expect a long unbeaten run. I know it. Henry Norris told me.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Chapman Brothers, Jake or Dinos, White Cube

I don’t know much about the Chapman Brothers, Jake and Dinos, in fact, much as a lot of my blogs are about art, I don’t know much about art at all, beyond some rudimentary knowledge and the occasional blag. So, you are very welcome to join me on this journey of discovery as I apply my own (no doubt hideous) interpretations of peoples work as I explore this wonderful subject over the coming blogs.
What I lack in knowledge, I will make up for in enthusiasm however. When I win the lottery, I’ll sign up to an art history degree and be an earthy grounded gor-blimey mature student, doing some Dick Van Dyke tap dancing shit, whilst my posh course mates steer well clear.
So anyway, the Chapman Brothers. I knew the following prior to attending the exhibition-
1) They are of Cypriot heritage (like me)
2) Therefore they are bald (I checked, they are)
3) They are controversial, I vaguely remember their plastic dolls fused together, quite horrific images, which appealed to me at the time, but I probably went back to playing Football Manager and didn’t go to see the exhibition
4) Something about a scary fairy tale based (and let’s be clear – proper fairy tales are horrific and bloody) childrens colouring in book (subsequently found out it’s a dot to dot, but the colouring in book may also exist)
5) That’s it
So, on a whim I decided to visit the White Cube gallery today, as well as the National Portrait Gallery, which will be the subject of another blog.
There are two White Cube galleries, one in Mason’s Yard near Green Park in London and one in Hoxton. I only visited the Mason’s Yard one today, but I’ve included pics from both, mainly drawn from the Guardian, but also from another website, I would credit, but I can’t find the link now, all I will say is, they aren’t mine and if this blog ever extends beyond seven followers, then I apologise to whoever took the photo!
The “shock factor” from the exhibition involved Nazi imagery, but it was pushed to extreme boundaries of ridiculousness, it made the imagery farcical. Not sure if that was the point, the shock, combined with a vague slapstick amusement, but that’s what I got from this exhibition.
Yes. The Nazi Zombies and I use this term lazily as equally they might be hideously burnt, disfigured or mutated Nazis, are creepy, the first thing that greets you as you walk down the stairs into the basement gallery is one of them staring at you, in his Hugo Boss Waffen SS uniform. Really, it did shock me. I stopped dead in my tracks. Bang! It was instantly unsettling. An art smack down. This was the only photo I took, as photos aren’t allowed.

However, the poses they are in (two are in the process of having sex), the insignia (a smiley face armband instead of a swastika) and the scenarios they are put in (one nazi is sitting under a stuffed pigeon which occasionally “shits” on him) balances things out.
The following video summarises things nicely -
Dinos - “If they say it’s wonderfully offensive then that’s good, if they say it’s horribly offensive then..” (shrug)
Jake - “We’re not bothered by what people think… apart from our mother” (both laugh)
I also like they are belligerent socialists at heart, who want art to be available to all students, whatever their background, not just for the privileged few.
All pics courtesy of the guardian I think, if not…my bad!

Yes, they are getting it on in this pic (tee hee)

Round the corner from the Nazi’s, in a darkened room, is another man sized figure of the same material/ilk, this time in a big KKK hood. He was quite scary. In front of him was a painting, a hellish image of the crucifixion, Christ and the two criminals on their crosses with a crowd under them. Initially I thought, this looks like a Brueghel or Bosch, as the figures were all vaguely distorted or utterly warped in animalistic forms. But I though, oh, it can’t be, Christ himself has tentacles coming out of his face for instance, someone was trying to climb out of a horses bum and someone else was smoking a fag in the painting! The animalistic forms of the people was not a surprise for those two artists, but they’d have never messed with the image of Jesus. I assumed one of the Chapman brothers had painted an original in that style.
As you have to lean forward to examine it as the light is poor, the KKK man is looming behind you. What I didn’t realise is he had a massive hardon bulging his trousers outward, so whilst you are leaning over to look at the painting, you are faintly aware of a large cock hovering by your butt. It amused me greatly when I finally saw it! So again, unsettling imagery / comedy. It’s shocking but great too. His “bulge” is not visible in this photo but it gives you an idea of the space you have to squeeze into and lean over to look at the painting.

Anyway, a bit of research and I found out that Brueghel, or rather one of his followers *had* painted it and one of the brothers had then proceeded to add to it. Some would say this is defacement, but considering this has now sold for £750k (KKK hardon man thrown in) compared to the €220k they originally paid for it… it challenges perceptions and the value of art. Full story as relayed by the Telegraph here (and remember it is the Telegraph so it does have a sober disappointment running through the article and the comments are just typical Telegraph…..)
What I missed had I gone to the Hoxton White Cube, the other half of the exhibition.
You are fucking kidding me!

No, there’s more of them.

And finally.

It finishes tomorrow, next time I’ll pay more attention and definitely go to a Chapman brothers exhibition early!